People have been seen having a barbecue on Ilkley Moor just hours after devastating wildfire

It's enough to make you despair of humanity.

By Grace Newton
Monday, 22nd April 2019, 4:32 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd April 2019, 5:34 pm
Firefighters on Ilkley Moor
Firefighters on Ilkley Moor

Just hours after a huge wildfire on the tinder-dry Ilkley Moor was extinguished, a group have been spotted using a portable barbecue on the moorland.

Witness Fiona Schneider posted on Twitter after spotting the irresponsible group near The Haystack, a prominent boulder formation on Green Crag Stack.

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A firefighter was seen speaking to the group.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service later Tweeted to confirm that barbecues were still being taken onto the beauty spot - and that a car had been parked on a track being used for access by fire crews. Police have been informed.

Two huge fires - believed to have been started deliberately - raged across 50 acres of moor for over 24 hours after first igniting on Saturday.

Three men aged 19, 23 and 24 have been arrested in connection with the smaller fire, which began on Saturday near the Dick Hudson pub in Bingley. A larger fire later took hold on Saturday afternoon near Hanging Stone Road and blazed until Sunday. Around 70 firefighters were called to the moor and water was dropped from helicopters to combat the flames.

Firefighters on Ilkley Moor

The moorland has been described as 'tinder dry' following the Easter heatwave and visitors have been warned to avoid using barbecues and to dispose of cigarette ends carefully.

A barbecue is believed to have been the cause of another huge moorland fire on Marsden Moor, near Huddersfield, over the Easter weekend.

It began on Sunday evening and a helicopter water drop had to be arranged. The National Trust have estimated that around £200,000 of special wildlife habitat has been destroyed, while the charity had to pay the £2,000 hourly fee for the helicopter. 300 hectares were affected.

Wildlife such as merlins, curlews and mountain hares - all rare species - will have lost their homes.

Marsden Moor is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation due to the ground nesting bird population and blanket bog habitat.

A significant fire on February 27, during a spell of unseasonally warm weather, damaged 121 square hectares.